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The Consequences of Being Poor

Updated on December 8, 2015

A Cheap Pair of Shoes that's All I could Afford

I have no doubt that if someone should say " I have only one pair of cheap shoes" this may sound ridiculous, or even like a joke to many people, but I would like you to think this over, as it's not downright impossible! In fact, this story I am about to share with you is one about a young man who actually owned only one pair of inexpensive shoes and another who didn't even own a single pair - not even a pair of flip flops!

A couple years ago, while I was in college, a friend of mine shared a few experiences he had had, while growing up in the Caribbean. He said while he was growing up, he never even owned a pair of cheap shoes or a pair of sneakers. My friend whom I shall call "Island Man" told me that life was so difficult for his parents that they could hardly find the money to buy him anything other than a little food.

According to Island Man, it was common for most of the children who were living in his village at that time to attend school barefooted. Island Man said the sad thing about it was that most children couldn't afford to pay for the lunch offered by the school's canteen, so they had to walk back and forth to school during lunch break. He said lunch break was at 12:00 o'clock when the blistering sun was directly overhead, and the asphalt/tar that paved the roadway would sometimes melted.

After graduating from Grade School, at the age of 16, the following year he went to work for a gentleman who owned a coconut farm. By the age of 18 he had saved up enough money to buy himself the first pair of shoes and some decent clothes. Island man said he was also able to give his parents a few bucks every week-end when he got paid.

"It was an inexpensive pair of shoes, in fact it was on sale" said Island Man, but who cares, I needed some shoes badly for two reasons. First, it was always my dream to own a pair of shoes, and secondly, I met this girl but I couldn't ask her out, since I didn't own a pair of shoes.

My friend said the only place he usually got the opportunity to speak with her is during soccer games. He said on Saturdays and Sundays they would have soccer matches in his village or the neighboring villages and it was usual for little boys/girls, young men and even older folks to walk barefooted to these games.

According to Island Man " The very same day I bought my shoes I asked her out to a dance they had at the Community Center in my village and to my surprise she hesitated for a while, but accepted the date!" He said he was the happiest man in town that day, because now he had a pair of shoes, and not to mention the possibility of a relationship with a girl he was madly in love with.

Island Man said his happiness however, was short-lived. My friend said during the night of the dance he was supposed to meet his date at the community center. However, while he was sitting outside in front of the community center talking to a few other guys, his best friend came up to him, pulled him to the side and asked him if he could borrow his shoes for a couple of minutes. His best friend told him he needed to see this girl who was already in the party/dance, and he would be back as soon as possible.

My friend said he sat in the darkness barefooted waiting for his best friend to show up, but he didn't. "I saw him the following morning walking home, not only in my shoes, but also with my date, who happened to be the love of my life", said Island Man. He said was so crushed, that he couldn't even hold back the tears as they fell from his eyes.


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    • mackyi profile imageAUTHOR

      I.W. McFarlane 

      6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Lol!One thing I can say Kerlynb, is that when we look at other people situation, it allows us to see how fortunate we are. Everyone that were born in the U.S. should get the chance to listen to other foreigners' stories. Maybe this could help them to realize how blessed they are!

      Actually, this is just one of the many grim stories Island Man and other folks have shared with me! The last time I spoke to Island Man, he was doing well. In fact, he brought his family to live with him in the U.S.

    • kerlynb profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      Oh mackyi, this is a sad one. Island Man must have been totally shattered. His story is like one of those that inspire songs and movies, no kidding! Hope he's found his lady love now... I mean, love isn't all about having shoes. It's so much more.

      Also, I think (correct me if I'm wrong), Island Man somehow managed to get out poverty. You said here he was your classmate in college. I assume he is educated. Hopefully he had made something great out of his degree.


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